This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy!
THE SPRING CLEAN
Our spring clean this year was long overdue and today we decided to start with a clean up of all our phones and devices. The main reason for this as the primary starting point was that unlike other areas that needed a proper clear-out in our lives- given the events of the last few weeks, our devices were the most volatile and dis-organised. We had many pictures and videos which had suddenly evolved from being mere captured moments to becoming treasured moments.
The demise of our son two months earlier, meant that he stopped being captured in our moments from then on. Our devices unfortunately were subject to loss or damage. We had to hold on to every memory we could milk off them. There seemed to be a sense of urgency in carrying out the clear-out although I honestly could not tell why. Although having the memories stored in this way kept them to hand, they unfortunately also made us stumble into our son’s videos or pictures very suddenly. Such sudden appearances of his images were sometimes welcomed and comforting but at other times they were very upsetting depending on the state of mind we were in. It became necessary to keep them safe elsewhere. That way we could reach them when we felt readier to confront them.
It also had another alluring advantage of freeing up the space in our devices thus creating room for us to capture even more memories as life sadly went on.
Interestingly, something happened as we sorted through our devices. Our emotions swung into overdrive. What we did not bargain for were the surge of emotions that came flooding out as we sorted through each memory that each image or video we came across pulled into our consciousness. What started off as an innocent exercise began turning into a gruelling experience for us all. In no time we were in bits. We thought we were doing well and feeling strong emotionally since our loss or why else would we have felt courageous enough to begin this exercise?
Each memory seemed to stick us right into a lane in our memories where we stood watching each event depicted by the capture photograph or video unfolding. We wished we recorded each event more or better still that we started the recording earlier. We filled in all the blanks in our minds as we relived each moment with our late son in those photographs. We confronted the foolishness in the dreams we revisited as we remembered nursing them when those images were captured. Would that we could have known what lay just a few years, months, weeks or even days ahead from when we took those snapshots!
Our activity today made me feel like a child pulling at scabs, fascinated by their appearance and yet not knowing the pain that lay ahead after pulling sweetly at it. The allure of curiosity overshadowing all common sense.
I wondered if there was even any wisdom in capturing so many images as one walked through life. I questioned the sense in storing them. I missed the power of depending on only the mind to recall memories as was quite customary before all this technology. A time when memories in our hearts faded away with the passage of time until they lost their potency as painful reminders and reduced to just a dull ache. I toyed with the idea of deleting them all but I knew better than to make any decisions while overcome with emotion.
As we all tried to get through each last image, I could see us all crumbling but pulling each other along as we talked through the different emotions we were going through. My little strong son Mark said he wished his late brother Fred could visit us sometimes. He made this painful wish in his usual innocent way. My broken heart ground to a pulp as I explained the impossibility of his simple request. He claimed to understand as he sat on my lap in silence while we all put each memory away in the file we had opened in the removable hard drive.
With the last one done for the day, we heaved a sigh of relief. The dull absence of the sunshine to warm our hearts clouded up what was left of our day not only in the literal sense but in every way.
Afterwards, we switched on some happier songs on the sound system to tune us out of the emotions we had just unexpectedly confronted, I saw again how we began to brighten up even without any sunshine in sight. The torch of hope was kindled again as we swayed to the beats. We knew the importance of letting life go on. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time would mean that surely one day soon the memories would not hurt so badly. We had to trust as we always did that there was nothing without reason. Our boy Fred was safe in the place where not even the pain of his disease could ever get him.
So here I am standing between the isles in a shop where I came to as an excuse to get some air. I am staring blankly and wondering if I would ever open that hard drive ever again? I know I am as curious as a cat and won’t resist but that will have to be sometime in the future when I too feel far away from today, far away from the pain, far away from the emotional drain….
Thank you for your time. Hope you can join me again next time!